This article (or to be more precise an e-mail on which this one is based) was originally intended for Fil & Franz only. But since I was asked to write something for the whole solodallas.com community and I accepted – here it is then. To you all (Krokus, anyone?).
The whole story began over 2 years ago. Killing time (Starfighters, anyone?) at work, I was reading one of my favourite music blogs. Author was talking in superlatives about one (for me then) unknown Aussie hard rock band called Kings of the Sun. I have never heard about them, so I checked their (old) website, which also had the KOTS Radio – a web player with all songs from their first 3 albums. I hit play and… was instantly hooked! It didn’t matter which song was on, I was tapping my feet within a few seconds (they passed the so-called “shit test”). No wonder that among the fans of the band are such heavyweights as Gene Simmons, Billy Gibbons, Steven Tyler, Eddie van Halen, Jon Bon Jovi and even O’Keeffe bros (Airbourne) were inspired by them.
Fast forward a few months and I was sitting in a pub in Surfers Paradise on Gold Coast, QLD – having a nice chat with the band’s founder Clifford Hoad and his family. I was in Sydney to see the last three gigs of Heaven’s Twenty Twelve reunion tour after 30 years and took advantage of an opportunity while down under to meet my idols.
Btw. Mark Evans was once a member of Heaven band as a rhythm guitarist (!). And if some of you wondered, yes, I met him – actually he introduced himself to me after Allan Fryer (Heaven’s singer; btw. he almost got a gig in AC/DC after Bon died), who was having a chat with Mark, called me to join them! Talk about a surreal event – same feelings as Fil meeting Angus or anybody else meeting his/her idol.
Did I mention that all these blokes are great guys, too?
But let’s get back to KOTS. At that time of me meeting Cliff, the Kings were disbanded and he had an accident with a broken jack and almost lost his finger (a falling car cut his finger badly). However, since then he managed to recover, resurrected his band and wrote and recorded an amazing new album called “Rock Til Ya Die” which was released last September and heralded as “the best hard rock record coming out of Australia in the last 25 years” and “album of the year 2013.” I strongly recommend it to every Aussie rock fan – check it out and you will hear for yourself (yes, this is a shameless plug)!
Fast forward to 2014 and Kings of the Sun won a voting competition and got a 45-min slot to open the Friday string of gigs at Sweden Rock Festival 2014.
The TSR pedal that was purchased for the band was delivered to Sweden in advance, so it could be used during the rehearsals and guys had some time to get familiar with its features and capabilities.
Below, you can see some photos from the soundcheck.
As you can see on the picture, the final setup of the pedals that Q used was a TSR and a custom-made wah-wah pedal (and a tuner). He usually uses more pedals, but as he personally told me, while we had a chance to chat during the soundcheck, he was going to keep it simple for the gig. Rock ‘n’ roll – he should know better as an Australian.
Q’s main axe is a custom-made Taipan loaded with Mick Brierley’s hand-wound PAF pickups. The other one that he plays is also a custom-made Mongrel guitar loaded with the hand-wound B-90 pups (Mick Brierley’s take on a P-90 pickup in humbucker size). Both guitars were made by Ray Carlton. Australian guitars, Australian pickups.
Dave Talon, band’s rhythm guitarist, plays his beloved Ibanez Destroyers and also a Gibson Explorer.
Both plugged their axes into the Festival’s backline of amps. Q into a Marshall JCM2000 (with “too many knobs” as he remarked) and Dave into a JCM900.
The TSR was turned on for the whole gig. I had a chance to hear when Q turned it off and on during the soundcheck and I would describe it as getting from “clean to mean.”
When I later asked Q what his settings were like, his reply was:
“Just a Mal cleanish bite with a touch of gain, then schaffed the rep ON.”
I think he might have invented a new term: “to schaff the replica on.” What do you think Mr. Schaffer?
He also added: “I can’t wait to try it with my other amps.” Those are: Metropoulos 10,000 series, a couple of Sligo amps and a Marshall 2203 if I remember correctly. Talk about tone heaven.
Now, let’s get down to business.
Here is the official video made by the Festival with an opening track of the KOTS show called Rockpile. I must say, that the sound of it doesn’t do a justice to the real thing I was listening to live. It was effin’ awesome and 45 min they got went really quick.
Thankfully, here is also a video of the full show thanks to Shar of the Nitestar band with much better audio quality if you ask me. Enjoy!
If you want to learn more about the Kings of the Sun, I recommend these links:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kings_of_the_Sun_(band) (most complete bio of the band)
http://www.kingsofthesunband.com/ (official page with a whole discography to listen to)
http://www.youtube.com/user/CliffordHoad (official YouTube channel)
http://www.facebook.com/CliffHoad.KINGS.OF.THE.SUN (official Facebook page)
If you are interested in a gear mentioned in this article, check these links:
P.S.: There are more articles in the works and also a new section that should be introduced this summer. Stay tuned!
P.P.S.: Support your favourite bands. Go and see them live, buy their music and merchandise, because that’s the only way they can keep going.
…and remember: “ROCK TIL YA DIE!”